The Banning Bandit – or why Fausto is right

Posted on January 18, 2008 by


It all began here: a J’accuse and Malta Chronicle post in which I let loose a rant against certain political practices in our country. In it I planned to criticise the way party politicians act during election time. I had these particular practices in mind (to criticise):

1. Knocking on people’s doors to have a cordial (still not anachronistic no matter how much Fausto’s cocooned world see otherwise) chat with an elector who will be forgotten a couple of days after the vote is in the ballot box.

2. The practice of calling you to remind you to vote AND the practice of calling you reminding you that YOU HAVE NOT VOTED yet. That, with all its repercussions, exists too. Yes, parties do know whether you have voted or not. Yes, they do have lists with such data. It starts with a man or woman in your street. It ends with a little district office taking notice of the very modern use of an old system – tgharrex min wara’ l-persjana.

3. The constant violation of private information. How do candidates have your sms? Why do they bother sending automated sms’? How are mailing lists obtained?

4. The treatment of the electorate like a bunch of party craving imbeciles who would not be twisted by anything other than a freebie drink, a concert or a tombola party.

So I wrote my usual piece. I went so far as to say that certain practices should be banned. And now I have to admit I was wrong. Of course Fausto is right. He is so right he is way way right… a sort of far out right… yep far right. I should not have used the word “banned” when I meant that more must be done to discourage these practices. Fausto is right… I gave too much importance to the word banned.

In doing so I gave Fausto the opportunity to act as though he misunderstood and open fire on the ‘liberal who wants to ban everything’. Oh my God. Of course that is what I want to do. That was the gist of my writing. Ban politicians once we are at it. Fausto pounced on the opportunity using his pedant’s machine gun to portray the picture of the liberal gone wrong.

What I did note, and my mistake is all to blame for that, is that Fausto did not discuss the issues themselves. Either that or he would not admit them. Door knocking is anachronistic he says. Then he tells us that he has a right to have his door knocked upon. Too true on that one. Which is why although I wish they could be banned I would settle for more and more people sticking the sticker I suggested onto their door. Per la cronaca it said “This Household Votes Intelligently. No Knock Knocking. Thank You.”

As for the Losco story. Read again Fausto. I never said they should ban such parties. Here read it:

I want a candidate to be available in places where I can choose to go and not to go. That way I can differentiate between one who thinks he will win me over by showing me Ira Losco’s legs on stage and one who decides to sit behind a table with his constituents and discuss issues and how to solve them. Ban the knock knocking.

You see? The point was to leave the choice… I want to have a choice between the slap us silly candidates and a good dose of the other ones. The ones who let me question them and maybe will even answer.

But Fausto is busy telling us that in Japan there are no presidential campaigns. Which is also true. My fault for picking up the phrase from a BBC site I cannot find again. But does that change the main thrust of the argument? I was not even saying the Japs got it right by banning internet campaigning.

Truth is that Fausto would rather discuss banning vs liberal than admit that something is fishy about the way our structures run democracy in our country. Fausto will denz that parties know whether you have voted the moment your name has no tick by its side at 16.00 hours and they will get their convincing machinery in motion to get out and vote. Fausto never saw canvassers of a party (read thugs and criminals) lifting reluctant old people into an ambulance to force them to vote and mark an X. Let them die after they vote.

And finally there is the funny matter of the “nuisance suits”. Throw in a joke about lawyers and I guess its ok. It’s the electoral version of “collateral damage”. In the case of “Collateral damage” it’s a dead man on the field that has been redefined into some diplomatic mumbo-jumbo to mask the horror of the event. In the case of a so-called “nuisance suits” (which incidentally are not exactly the bread and butter of the lawyering profession – most cases are defended pro bono by politician lawyers so it’s all in house my friend) what you have is a party deciding to open a court case wherein an individual is suddenly told that he or she has no right to vote because of some twisted interpretation that only serves the party opening the case.

In the “Far Right” land (and I do not mean extreme right in the political sense but in conservative control freak sense – like “liberal”, Far Right can have its own diaporama of connotations) a “nuisance suit” is run of the mill. Part of the control that the partitocracy exercises in the political game.

Well Fausto, you can be a pedant all you like what with all the liberal and banning issues. Let’s call it collateral discussion. When you decide to discuss the real issue – how the electoral process in our country is an insulting mockery of the population I’ll be around to reply.

The truth… if I lie.